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The Design Build Fly Crimson Skies team finished sixth out of 95 teams at the AIAA DBF competition in Tuscon, Arizona this year! The team finished all missions and received many compliments from judges and competitors on the novelty of their inflatable fabric wing.

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SpaceX, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Textron, and Northrop Grumman were just a few of the companies on-site recruiting.   A SpaceX recovery systems employee was particularly interested in our inflatable wing and came by our work tent several times to chat with students.

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According to the DBF rules, Student teams had to design, fabricate, and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircraft that could best meet the specified mission profile. The goal was to have a balanced design possessing well-demonstrated flight handling qualities and practical and affordable manufacturing requirements while providing a high vehicle performance.

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The objective for this year’s competition was to design a tube-launched UAV. The UAV must fit complete inside the launch tube, which also acts as the UAV handling and storage container. The launch tube must protect the UAV from damage during normal handling and storage. Upon removal of the UAV from the launch tube, all folded or stowed surfaces or features must move into the flight condition. Teams had to design a UAV and launch tube that minimizes system weight while maximizing speed, range, endurance and payload capacity.

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DBF Crimson Skies tested multiple designs before creating the successful “Batwing II,” which is the given name of their winning aircraft.

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